Hidden behind a fence for years, Morley Park has at last opened its gates.

Described as a "hidden gem", the woodland, meadow and pond had been fenced off for several years.

The woodland is a listed Site of Importance for Nature Conservation and home to a wide variety of wildlife.

According to local naturalist Tony Drakeford, who has written a guide to the park, there is a wealth of wildlife to enjoy.

"Many birds are attracted to the woods where the pride of the park, namely badgers, forage," he said.

The park will provide the public with a new leisure area and Ursuline High School with playing fields and use of a newly built pavilion.

But this was in fact the second opening event for the park.

The first took place in September 2017, but the gates were locked again soon afterwards due to delays in the transfer paperwork.

The Friends of Morley Park are glad to have lost their status as the only 'Friends' group without a park.

FOMP committee member Jane Barnes said: "We look forward to working with Merton Council and the school to improve Morley Park for the benefit of all and to enhancing the ecological diversity of the nature conservation areas."

It is expected the park, which can be accessed from both Copse Hill and Cottenham Park Road, will have opening hours in line with Merton's other parks.